Padraig Harrington showcases links chops with a 63

The king of links golf produced yet another masterclass to underline the challenges that make it such a spectacular test. Gaganjeet Bhullar is in T19 with a 67

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05 July 2019: Padraig Harrington delighted the home crowds at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open with his lowest ever round in his home national open, a sizzling 63 in the Lahinch sunshine moving the 2020 Ryder Cup Captain one shot clear.

Gaganjeet Bhullar was the best placed Indian at T19. The in-form golfer shot three-under 70, including four birdies between the 9th and 17th holes.

Shubhankar Sharma and SSP Chawrasia had to settle for a score of two-over 72. The duo will need a marked improvement in the second round to avoid facing the cut.

It was a spectacular start to the second Rolex Series event of 2019, with Shane Lowry ramping up the Irish atmosphere early in the day by recovering from an early bogey to move right into contention with a four under 66.

“I had neutral expectations. At least that’s what I was going for. I’ve been playing all year trying to find my game. I’ve been struggling coming back after my wrist injury. You know, this week, I just decided I’d go and play and try and get stock on my game. That’s kind of been the feedback I’ve been getting from my team around me. Let’s go out and play and see where we’re at.

“I didn’t expect 63 out of it. I was expecting a few weeks to get my head in the game, and we could then get our bearings, but you know, it just goes to show, when your head is in the right place, especially on a links golf course because you can work your way around the links. I did a really good job of it today.

“Out there today, I was in a good place, my head was in a good place and good things were happening. I hit lots of nice shots. I know I don’t have to play as well as that for the next three days. It would be nice if I did, but we’ll just go out there and try and do more of the same.

“Whenever I step on a links golf course, I am going to be good value, and going forward, only a fool would discount me on a links course.”

A pair of former World Number Ones in Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood, as well as Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter, all joined Lowry on four under while reigning Italian Open champion Thorbjørn Olesen was one of seven players in a share of third on five under.

But the day belonged to three-time Major winner and former winner of this event Harrington, as a run of five birdies in six holes around the turn propelled him to a seven under round and a one-stroke advantage over South Africa’s Zander Lombard, who birdied the final three holes late in the day for a six under 64.

 

European Tour Report